◎ A Post-NaNo Letter to Pre-NaNo Kat

December 04, 2012

Dear Kat on October 31st, 2013,

On October 31st of 2012, you were hunched over the computer and trembling as the clock inched toward that moment when you would become responsible for bringing 50,000 words into the world. You were scared of the responsibility, but looking forward to the inevitability. You couldn't NOT finish NaNoWriMo. You knew that from the start. That's what was getting to you in those final moments before it all began. The fact there was no escape, nowhere to run. Once December 1st hit, it was do or die time.

When that clock hit midnight, you were shaking. Terrified. You stared at the screen for a good thirty seconds, shouted over to Mike that you couldn't think of what to write, and then BAM. You had something, some weird little spark that got you going.

And then you wrote 100,000 words.

This year, you can skip your worrying about not having a life during NaNoWriMo, because guess what? You had plenty of free time. Additionally, your sanity was, for the most part, preserved, and you led a write-in every week and met some kick-ass awesome people. You finished the first draft of Flowers When You're Dead (that nebulous thing you never dreamed of finishing when you started it back in high school), wrote that non-fiction nonsense for your grad school application, pulled a short story out of nowhere, and pantsed your way through 40,000 words of the first draft of Don't Let The Sun Fool You. Damn, girl. Damn. High five.

But that's not all. Remember how you wrote 13K in a day, man? Remember how that felt? You were so proud. SO proud.  It was the first time you ever felt like you really pushed yourself. I doubt you've forgotten that feeling, but just in case you have: IT FELT AWESOME.

(Thirteen people promised to draw you a picture of you searching for your sanity if you passed 30,000 words by midnight, and only one of them came through. Don't forget to hold them to it this year!)

Basically, your worries were unwarranted, and in fact, I want to go as far as to say there is NO reason you can't keep this up during every other month of the year. I don't mean knocking out 100k, or even 50K. I'm talking about hitting your goals for YearNoWriMad. 10K/20K is nothing. You did the former in less than 24 hours. You eat 333/667 words for breakfast. If you can write 100K during the busiest month of the year, you can slap down a thousand words every morning before you start your day. No excuses, darling. NONE.

So here we are, Kat. It's October 31st in the year 2013. You graduated college, the world didn't end, you're still too young to drink, and you're (hopefully!) in graduate school getting schooled on all that stuff I wanted to learn but didn't. Inevitably, you've probably forgotten all about how writing 100K didn't destroy your life. You're sitting there, hunched over your computer and trembling as the clock inches up toward midnight. You're making the same mistake as last year.

My message to you? Stop that. Get a hold of yourself. It's going to be OK. Take a deep breath, let that clock strike midnight, and enjoy the ride, because it's...(wait for it)...not that big of a deal. Yeah, I went there. Writing 100K, at the end of the day (ehem, month), was not that big of a deal. You wrote. You lived. You survived. It did not consume your life (excluding your 10K days, but even those came with free time).

Let me repeat that in case you missed it. IT WAS NOT THAT BIG OF A DEAL.

So stop shaking. Chill out. Don't psyche yourself out this year. The anticipation was way worse than any of the stress of writing 100K in a month, I promise. It really wasn't that big of a deal, Kat. I'm super cereal.

(Oh, and congratulations on writing your first adult fight and sex scenes. The latter was awkward but tasteful. I'll bet you're a pro at those by now, aren't you?)

With much love,

Kat on December 4th, 2012

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